Sunday night.

This will be the last full workweek of the year. Afterwards, it’s Christmas, Boxing Day (still no clue what is), New Year’s Day, etc. The 10-day staycation can’t come soon enough. A chance to recharge my batteries at long last, after which a few good things should happen in relatively rapid succession, a month or so apart. Or that’s the plan, anyhow.

I ended my self-imposed six-week alcohol/caffeine/alcohol-in-caffeine fast about a week ago, which means I no longer pass out by 11pm. That’s how I ended up staying up till 3am last night, trying to automate a calculation I came up with. In the end, I gave up, finally installed Python, and cobbled together my very own Python program to do the calculation a whole last faster. It’s funny how that works: I tried and failed to finish a Python tutorial several times, and it wasn’t until I finally had a real-life world for it that I started to actually use it. Heh.

Today was mostly spent procrastinating and munching on the gift basket goodies. (I also made some sad single-ingredient beef tacos, so there’s that.) I didn’t intend to, but I ended up spending most of the day binge-reading TVtropes, a ridiculously addictive pop-culture wiki that has functionally infinite archives and examples of different entertainment tropes. I mostly go there to read the “Real life” section – essentially, bite-sized and entertaining anecdotes from world history. (Did you know that Abraham Lincoln had a run-in with pirates when he was a teenager? The boring river-sailing pirates, not the Caribbean swashbucklers, but still.) I’m reasonably certain I’ll never put any of that and other knowledge to good use, but hey, you never know. (And it was an interesting way to kill a few hours.)

Still flirting with the idea of learning basic Vietnamese. This article was a real morale-booster. I knew about the romanized alphabet, but had no idea that Vietnamese had ridiculously simple grammar, no verb conjugations, and just five basic tenses. The hard part would be figuring the six different tones: I’m not tone deaf but I’m more or less tone-mute, if that’s the term. To everyone out there who had to suffer through my renditions of Queen’s “Don’t stop me now” at karaoke bars, I’m sorry. (So very, very sorry.) I’m sure I’ll get passably okay at it (Vietnamese tones, not karaoke) if I keep trying. Yay lockdlown life.

In covid news, a New York Times article revealed that the White House staff will jump to the front of the line to get vaccinated. That’s a bit ironic, considering they spent most of 2020 claiming the virus was a hoax, that it’s no worse than the flu, and that it would magically go away on its own. (Granted, the White House is a superspreader location at this point, but whose fault was that?) Given the limited vaccine supply at this time, this is a zero sum game: the shots that got to the White House staffers will not make their way to medical professionals or the elderly. Statistically speaking, some at-risk person might die because of this. I’m sure we’ll see more of the same as vaccines make their way to all 50 states.

In an interesting aside, my younger brother might get vaccinated in the next few weeks. He lives in Seattle: a few years ago, I convinced him to join the county’s rescue team (KCESAR) to help rescue hikers and lost folks in our spare time. That’s one of the few things I really miss about the States… I moved to Canada while he remained a rescuer, though with a different county. The local sheriff said that rescuers might be eligible to get vaccinated, since they’re in that slim category of life&death professionals. (Unlike, say, Wall Street traders or White House staffers.) If that works out – good for him. It’ll also be a little funny: I often imagine how different my life would’ve been if I’d stayed in the US. I guess now I know: that baseline Grigory would’ve gotten his vaccine at least three months ahead of the Canadian Grigory. It’s odd how these things turn out sometimes.

Stay healthy, amigos.